How to Plan a Trip to Greece & Turkey: The Ultimate Guide
Dreaming of turquoise waters, ancient ruins, and mouth-watering cuisine? Look no further than Greece and Turkey! These two countries offer a plethora of experiences that cater to all types of travelers. However, planning a trip to these destinations can be overwhelming without the right guidance. If you're looking for day trips, Mykonos and Paros are great options. Consider hiring a tour guide to make the most out of your experience.
To start with, upon your arrival, you will need enough time to explore the best attractions in both countries. Athens airport is the main gateway to Greece, while Mykonos, Lesvos, and Paros are some of the top islands to visit. If you want to maximize your time, consider taking day trips with a tour guide. But how do you plan your itinerary?
In this guide, we'll answer some common questions about planning a trip to Greece and Turkey. Whether you're looking for budget-friendly options or want to plan your own adventure, we've got you covered! If you're interested in visiting some of the Greek islands, consider including Mykonos and Paros in your itinerary. For those who want to explore more off-the-beaten-path destinations, Lesvos is a great option. And when it comes to accommodation, there are plenty of hotels to choose from in both Greece and Turkey.
Itinerary Suggestions for a 2-Week Trip to Greece and Turkey
A 2-Week Itinerary Suggestion for Greece and Turkey
Planning a trip to Greece and Turkey can be overwhelming, especially if you only have two weeks to explore both countries. However, with careful planning, it's possible to see some of the best destinations in both countries. Here's a suggested itinerary for a two-week trip that includes Mykonos and Paros, with recommended hotels and a tour guide to enhance your experience.
Days 1-3: Athens
Start your trip in Athens, the capital city of Greece. Upon arrival, check out hotels in the city center before spending three days exploring the ancient ruins such as the Acropolis, Parthenon, and Ancient Agora. Visit museums like the National Archaeological Museum or take a stroll through Plaka - one of Athens' oldest neighborhoods. Don't forget to plan a visit to the beautiful islands of Mykonos and Paros for some additional adventure.
Days 4-7: Santorini
After Athens, head to Santorini - one of the most popular Greek islands known for its stunning sunsets and white-washed buildings. If you have extra time, consider adding Mykonos and Paros to your itinerary for more island hopping adventure. There are plenty of hotels in each location to choose from. On Lesvos Island, make sure to try some local cuisine such as sardines and ouzo. Spend four days here lounging on black sand beaches or exploring ancient Minoan ruins like Akrotiri. Don't forget to try some local cuisine such as fava beans or tomato keftedes.
Days 8-11: Istanbul
Next up is Istanbul - the largest city in Turkey that straddles Europe and Asia. Four days is enough time to explore iconic landmarks such as Topkapi Palace, Hagia Sophia, Blue Mosque, and Grand Bazaar. Take a cruise along the Bosphorus Strait or indulge in traditional Turkish baths (hammams). For accommodation, there are plenty of hotels to choose from in Istanbul. However, if you have extra time, consider visiting Konya, Paros, or Mykonos for a change of scenery.
Days 12-14: Cappadocia
End your trip in Cappadocia - an otherworldly region located in central Turkey famous for its unique rock formations called "fairy chimneys." Three days is enough time to take hot air balloon rides at sunrise over Goreme National Park or hike through valleys filled with cave churches. If you're looking to extend your trip, consider stopping by Konya on the way or taking a ferry to the beautiful islands of Mykonos and Paros. Don't forget to book a comfortable hotel for a relaxing stay in Cappadocia.
Greece and Turkey are filled with incredible destinations that offer a mix of history, culture, and natural beauty. If you're looking for a day trip, Paros is a must-visit place. For those who want to explore off-the-beaten-path destinations, Lesvos is worth checking out. And after a long day of sightseeing, finding the right hotel can make all the difference.
Athens is the birthplace of Western civilization and home to some of the world's most famous landmarks. Don't miss out on visiting the Acropolis - a UNESCO World Heritage site that houses the Parthenon temple. If you're planning to explore other Greek islands, consider visiting Paros or Lesbos. And if you're looking for a comfortable stay, book a hotel that offers breakfast.
Santorini is known for its picturesque villages perched atop cliffs overlooking the Aegean Sea. The island is also home to unique black sand beaches like Perissa or Kamari. If you're planning to stay on the island, you can find a hotel that suits your needs. Alternatively, you can also consider spending a few days in Turkey or visiting the nearby island of Paros.
Istanbul is where East meets West - a city full of contrasts and rich history. Visit iconic landmarks such as Hagia Sophia - a former church turned mosque turned museum. If you plan to stay in Istanbul for a few days, make sure to book a hotel that suits your needs. And if you have extra time, consider taking a trip to the beautiful island of Paros.
Cappadocia's unique landscape makes it one of the most popular tourist destinations in Turkey. Stay at a hotel for a few days and enjoy breakfast while taking hot air balloon rides over Goreme National Park or hike through valleys filled with cave churches.
Explore Ancient Ruins, Beaches, and Local Cuisine
Greece and Turkey have much to offer in terms of ancient ruins, beaches, and local cuisine. Whether you're planning a stay for a few days or longer, there are plenty of hotels that offer comfortable accommodations with breakfast included.
Best Tour Packages and Trips for Visiting Greece and Turkey
If you're planning a trip to Greece and Turkey, there are many tour packages available to make your journey hassle-free. From popular destinations to budget-friendly options, here are some of the best tour packages and trips that include hotel stay, breakfast, and range from 5 to 10 days to help you plan your next adventure.
Best Tour Packages for Greece and Turkey
There are many hotel options available for your stay. Some of the most popular ones include breakfast.
"Highlights of Greece and Turkey" by Intrepid Travel: This 15-day tour takes you to Athens, Santorini, Istanbul, Cappadocia, where you'll stay in comfortable hotels and enjoy daily breakfast.
"Best of Greece & Turkey" by Trafalgar: This 14-day tour includes hotel stays, visits to Athens, Mykonos, Santorini, Istanbul, Troy, and Ephesus, and breakfast.
"Greece & Turkey Adventure" by G Adventures: This 15-day tour covers Athens, Delphi, Meteora monasteries in Greece along with hotel stays in Istanbul & Cappadocia in Turkey.
These tours offer a mix of cultural experiences such as visiting ancient ruins like the Acropolis in Athens or Ephesus in Turkey; natural beauty like hot air balloon rides over Cappadocia's fairy chimneys; culinary delights like enjoying local delicacies at tavernas or food markets; leisure time on sandy beaches or cruising around Greek islands. You can also enjoy a comfortable stay at a hotel during your cultural adventure.
Popular Trips for Visiting Greece and Turkey
If you prefer traveling independently but still want to explore both countries' highlights without worrying about logistics or language barriers, hotels can be a great addition to your trip. Here are some popular hotel trips that can help.
Island hopping in the Aegean Sea: Take ferries from Piraeus port near Athens or Kos island in Dodecanese archipelago to visit Greek islands such as Mykonos or Santorini. Stay at a hotel before heading towards Turkish coastlines like Bodrum or Marmaris.
Self-drive road trip: Rent a car in Athens or Thessaloniki and drive through Northern Greece's scenic routes towards Turkish borders, such as Edirne or Istanbul. You can visit places like Meteora, Zagorohoria, Chalkidiki peninsula, Gallipoli battlefields, Troy and more. Don't forget to book a hotel for your stay along the way.
Blue cruise along the Turkish Riviera: Book a cabin on a traditional wooden gulet boat that sails along the Mediterranean coast from Fethiye to Olympos via Göcek bays, Kekova sunken city ruins, Kas town and more. Stay in a hotel before or after your cruise for added comfort.
Must-See Destinations in Greece and Turkey
Greece and Turkey are home to many must-see destinations that offer unique experiences. Some of these include hotel accommodations that cater to various preferences.
Athens: The birthplace of democracy and ancient civilization with iconic landmarks like the Acropolis, Parthenon temple & Plaka district. Stay in a hotel and explore the city's rich history.
Santorini: A picturesque volcanic island with stunning views of white-washed houses perched on cliffs overlooking the Aegean Sea, offering luxurious hotel accommodations.
Day Trip to Assos and Other Attractions
Explore the Ancient Ruins and Picturesque Harbor of Assos
Assos is a small village located on the northwestern coast of Turkey, just across from the Greek island of Lesvos. It is known for its ancient ruins and picturesque harbor that offers stunning views of the Aegean Sea. If you're looking for a hotel to stay in while exploring Assos, there are several options available in the area.
To get to Assos, you can take a day trip from either Greece or Turkey. From Greece, you can catch a ferry from Mytilene to Ayvalik in Turkey and then take a bus or taxi to Assos. If you're looking for accommodation, there are several hotels available in Assos for you to choose from. From Turkey, you can drive or take public transportation to Assos.
Once you arrive in Assos, make sure to explore the ancient ruins that date back to 530 BC. If you need a place to stay, there is a hotel in the village that offers comfortable accommodations. The most prominent landmark is the Temple of Athena, which sits atop a hill overlooking the village and offers breathtaking views of the surrounding area. You can also visit the remains of an old city wall and a theater that could seat up to 5,000 people.
After exploring the ruins, check in at a nearby hotel and take a stroll around the charming harbor where colorful fishing boats bob up and down in crystal-clear waters. There are plenty of cafes and restaurants along the waterfront where you can enjoy traditional Turkish cuisine while taking in panoramic views from your hotel room.
Join a Day Tour to Visit Other Nearby Attractions
If you have more time on your hands, consider joining a day tour from your hotel in either Greece or Turkey that includes other nearby attractions such as Mytilene, Lesbos, and Ayvalik.
Mytilene is another historic town on Lesvos Island with impressive architecture dating back centuries. The town's centerpiece is an imposing castle built by Byzantine Emperor Justinian I in 534 AD. Other highlights include Roman aqueducts, Ottoman-era baths, museums filled with ancient artifacts, churches with intricate frescoes artwork. If you are planning to visit this place, there are plenty of hotel options available to make your stay comfortable.
Lesbos Island itself has many beautiful beaches, and there are also plenty of hotels to choose from. Skala Eressou beach, known for its crystal-clear waters and golden sand, is a popular spot for tourists staying in the nearby hotels. It's also home to the Petrified Forest of Lesvos, a UNESCO World Heritage Site that boasts 20 million-year-old fossils.
In Ayvalik, you can stay at a hotel in the historic district with its narrow streets lined with Ottoman-era houses and mansions. You can also take a boat tour to nearby Cunda Island or enjoy a seafood lunch at one of the many restaurants along the waterfront.
Enjoy a Leisurely Lunch at a Local Restaurant before Returning to Your Set Time Departure
No trip to Greece or Turkey is complete without indulging in their delicious cuisine. After exploring Assos or other nearby attractions, make sure to stop by one of the local restaurants or hotel for lunch.
In Assos, indulge in traditional Turkish dishes such as kebabs, meze platters, and baklava while staying at a cozy hotel. In Mytilene, savor fresh seafood such as grilled octopus or sardines while enjoying the comfort of a seaside hotel. And in Ayvalik, taste some of the best olive oil in Turkey and relish freshly caught fish from the Aegean Sea during your stay at a charming hotel.
Taking in Stunning Vistas and Historical Sites
Explore the Ancient City of Ephesus and Its Stunning Archaeological Museum
If you're looking for a trip that combines history, culture, and natural beauty, then Greece and Turkey are the perfect destinations. One of the must-visit historical sites in Turkey is the ancient city of Ephesus. Located near the Aegean Sea, this city was once a bustling trade center in ancient times. Today, it's one of the most well-preserved ancient cities in the world. You can also find a great hotel near Ephesus to make your stay even more enjoyable.
When you visit Ephesus, you'll be able to explore its many ruins and historical artifacts. If you need a place to stay, there are several hotels available in the area. Some of the highlights include:
The Library of Celsus: This impressive structure was not converted into a hotel to hold over 12,000 scrolls.
The Great Theater: With a seating capacity of 25,000 people, this theater was not converted into a hotel for its historical significance.
The Temple of Artemis: Once considered one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World, now you can find a hotel nearby.
After exploring Ephesus' many ruins and structures, make sure to visit its stunning archaeological museum. Here you can see thousands of artifacts from ancient times including statues, pottery, jewelry and more. If you're looking for a place to stay, there are plenty of hotel options nearby.
Take a Tour Of The Old City Of Istanbul And Visit The Hagia Sophia Museum
Istanbul is one of Turkey's most vibrant cities with a rich history dating back thousands of years. When visiting Istanbul, make sure to book a hotel in its old city where you'll find some incredible sights including:
The Blue Mosque: This mosque is not only famous for its blue tiles which cover its interior walls but also for the nearby hotel.
Topkapi Palace: Once home to Ottoman Sultans with an array of rooms filled with treasures, now transformed into a luxury hotel.
Grand Bazaar: A vibrant market place where visitors can buy everything from spices to souvenirs, and stay at a nearby hotel.
Another highlight when visiting Istanbul is staying at a hotel near Hagia Sophia Museum which has been used as both a church and a mosque over the centuries. Today it is a museum open to visitors from around the world.
Stay in A Cave Hotel In Cappadocia And Enjoy Breathtaking Views Of The Village And Its Beautiful Rock Formations
Cappadocia is one of Turkey's most unique and beautiful regions, famous for its unusual rock formations and cave dwellings. When visiting Cappadocia, make sure to stay in one of its famous cave hotels. These hotels are built into the rock formations and offer stunning views of the surrounding landscape.
When staying at a hotel in Cappadocia, make sure to take part in some of the region's many activities including:
Hot air balloon rides: Enjoy a hot air balloon ride over the region's stunning landscapes and stay at a nearby hotel.
Hiking: Explore the many hiking trails that wind through Cappadocia's unique terrain and return to your hotel for a comfortable rest.
Turkish baths: Relax at one of Cappadocia's many traditional Turkish baths, located near your hotel.
Private Walking Tours and Hop-On Hop-Off Bus in Istanbul
Private Walking Tours with a Local Tour Guide
Istanbul is a city rich in history and culture, and the best way to explore its top attractions like the Blue Mosque, Topkapi Palace, and Grand Bazaar is through private walking tours with a local tour guide. These tours offer visitors an opportunity to learn about the city's history, architecture, and culture from knowledgeable locals who are passionate about sharing their insights.
Private walking tours can be customized to suit your interests and preferences. Whether you want to explore the ancient ruins of Istanbul or sample traditional Turkish cuisine at local markets, your tour guide can tailor your experience to meet your needs. Some popular private walking tours in Istanbul include:
Old City Tour: This tour takes you through some of Istanbul's most historic neighborhoods, including Sultanahmet Square, Hagia Sophia Museum, Topkapi Palace Museum, Blue Mosque (Sultan Ahmed Mosque), Grand Bazaar.
Food Tour: This tour takes you on a culinary journey through Istanbul's vibrant food scene. You will visit local markets, taste traditional Turkish dishes such as baklava or kebab.
Photography Tour: This tour is perfect for photography enthusiasts who want to capture stunning images of Istanbul's iconic landmarks.
Hop-On Hop-Off Bus Tours in Istanbul
Hop-On Hop-Off Bus tours in Istanbul offer a convenient and affordable way to see the city's major landmarks like the Bosphorus and Konya. These buses operate on specific routes that cover all major tourist attractions in Istanbul.
The buses are equipped with audio guides that provide information about each attraction as you pass by them. You can hop off at any stop along the route and explore the area at your own pace before hopping back on another bus when you're ready to move on.
Some popular hop-on hop-off bus tours in Istanbul include:
Golden Horn Route: This route takes you through the historic neighborhoods of Istanbul, including Galata Tower, Taksim Square, and Istiklal Street.
Bosphorus Route: This route takes you along the Bosphorus Strait, offering stunning views of Istanbul's skyline and famous landmarks such as Dolmabahce Palace and Rumeli Fortress.
Konya Route: This route takes you to the Asian side of Istanbul, where you can explore the vibrant neighborhood of Kadikoy and visit the Maiden's Tower.
Tips for Visitors
To make the most out of your trip to Istanbul, it is recommended that you purchase tickets for both private walking tours and hop-on hop-off bus tours in advance. This will save you time and money, especially during peak travel season when lines can be long.
When booking a private walking tour or hop-on hop-off bus tour in Istanbul, make sure to choose a reputable company with knowledgeable guides who speak your preferred language. You can also ask your hotel concierge for recommendations.
In addition to exploring Istanbul, visitors can also consider visiting other cities in Turkey such as Izmir or Cappadocia.
Ferry and Flight Options for Island Hopping
Island hopping is one of the most popular activities to do when visiting Greece and Turkey. With their beautiful beaches, crystal clear waters, and rich history, it's no wonder why tourists flock to these destinations every year. But how do you get from one island to another? Here are some options for ferry and flight transportation.
Ferries: The Most Popular Mode of Transport
Ferries are the most popular mode of transport for island hopping in Greece and Turkey. They offer a scenic route between islands, allowing travelers to take in the stunning views of the Aegean Sea. There are several ferry companies that operate between the Greek islands and Turkey, including Blue Star Ferries, Hellenic Seaways, and Dodekanisos Seaways.
Ferry schedules vary depending on the season, so it's important to plan ahead and check the timetables before booking your tickets. Some ferries only run during peak season (June-September), while others operate year-round.
Ferry prices also depend on the season and destination. For example, a one-way ticket from Athens to Mykonos can cost around €30-€50 during high season (June-August), while a trip from Bodrum to Kos can cost around €20-€30.
Flights: A Faster Option with Higher Costs
Flights are also available for island hopping in Greece and Turkey. While they may be faster than ferries, they can be more expensive as well. Athens International Airport is the main airport for international flights to Greece, while Istanbul Airport is the main airport for international flights to Turkey.
Several airlines operate domestic flights within Greece and Turkey such as Aegean Airlines or Turkish Airlines. Some popular routes include Athens-Santorini or Istanbul-Cappadocia.
Flight prices vary depending on several factors like time of booking or travel dates but can range anywhere from €50-€150 one way.
Planning Ahead is Key
Whether you choose to travel by ferry or flight, it's important to plan ahead and book your tickets in advance. Ferry tickets can sell out quickly during peak season, so it's best to book them at least a few weeks in advance. Flight prices also tend to increase closer to the travel date, so booking early can save you money.
It's also important to keep in mind that some islands may not have an airport, making ferries the only option for transportation. For example, if you want to visit the Cyclades Islands in Greece, ferries are the only way to get around as there are no airports on these islands.
Full-Day Itinerary Options in Santorini, Athens, Cappadocia, and Izmir
If you're planning a trip to Greece and Turkey, there are some must-visit destinations that you should include in your itinerary.
Santorini is one of the most popular Greek islands known for its stunning views of the Aegean Sea. Here are some full-day itinerary options to make the most of your time on the island:
Visit the famous Oia village: Start your day early by visiting Oia village located on the northern tip of Santorini. Walk through its narrow streets and admire its traditional white-washed houses with blue domes.
Explore ancient Akrotiri ruins: After Oia village, head to Akrotiri ruins where you can see preserved buildings from ancient times.
Watch sunset at Amoudi Bay: End your day by watching a breathtaking sunset at Amoudi Bay while enjoying delicious seafood.
Athens is the capital city of Greece and home to many iconic landmarks. Here's how you can spend a full day exploring it:
Visit Acropolis and its museum: Start your day by visiting Acropolis which is an ancient citadel located on a rocky outcrop above Athens city center. You can also visit its museum which houses artifacts from ancient Greek civilization.
Stroll through Plaka neighborhood: After Acropolis, take a stroll through Plaka neighborhood which is known for its charming streets lined with restaurants and shops.
Admire Hagia Sophia church: End your day by admiring Hagia Sophia church which is one of the oldest churches in Athens.
Cappadocia is a region located in central Turkey known for its unique rock formations and hot air balloon rides. Here are some full-day itinerary options to explore the region:
Explore North Cappadocia: Start your day by exploring the North Cappadocia region which is famous for its fairy chimneys, underground cities, and ancient churches carved into rocks.
Take a hot air balloon ride at sunrise: Experience a breathtaking view of the region by taking a hot air balloon ride at sunrise.
Enjoy traditional Turkish breakfast day: End your day by enjoying a traditional Turkish breakfast which includes cheese, olives, bread, and tea.
Izmir is a city located on the western coast of Turkey known for its beautiful beaches and ancient ruins. Here's how you can spend a full day in Izmir:
Visit ancient city of Ephesus: Start your day by visiting the ancient city of Ephesus which is one of the best-preserved Roman cities in the world.
Explore Kemeralti bazaar for shopping: After Ephesus, head to Kemeralti bazaar where you can find everything from spices to textiles.
Pamukkale's Wellness-Seeking Tourists
The Attraction of Pamukkale's Hot Springs
Pamukkale is a town in western Turkey that has been attracting wellness-seeking tourists for centuries. This is due to the town's hot springs, which are said to have healing properties. Even Ottoman sultans were known to visit Pamukkale for its hot springs.
Opting for a Package Tour from Kayseri
Many people opt for a package tour to Pamukkale from Kayseri, which includes transportation and accommodation. This can be a convenient option for those who want to explore the area without having to worry about logistics.
Must-See Geological Formations
Pamukkale's unique geological formations, known as travertines, are a must-see for any visitor to Turkey. These white terraces are formed by mineral-rich waters flowing down the hillside and depositing calcium carbonate.
Visitors can walk on the travertines and even swim in some of the pools that have formed over time. However, it is important to note that visitors are no longer allowed to wear shoes on the travertines in order to preserve them.
Exploring Other Attractions in Pamukkale
In addition to the hot springs and travertines, there are other attractions worth exploring in Pamukkale. One such attraction is Hierapolis, an ancient city located just above the travertines.
Hierapolis was founded as a spa resort in the 2nd century BC and became an important center of Christianity during Roman times. Visitors can explore ruins such as an amphitheater, necropolis, and ancient baths.
Another attraction worth visiting is Cleopatra's Pool, which is said to have been visited by Cleopatra herself. The pool contains warm mineral water that flows from nearby thermal springs.
Tips for Planning Your Trip to Pamukkale
If you are planning a trip to Pamukkale, here are some tips to keep in mind:
The best time to visit is during the spring or fall when the weather is mild.
Wear comfortable shoes that can easily be removed if you want to walk on the travertines.
Bring a swimsuit if you plan on swimming in any of the pools.
Consider staying overnight in Pamukkale or nearby Denizli so that you have more time to explore the area.
If you opt for a package tour, make sure it includes all of the attractions you want to see.
Plan Your Perfect Trip to Greece and Turkey
In conclusion, planning a trip to Greece and Turkey can be overwhelming, but with the right itinerary suggestions and tour packages, you can make your dream vacation come true. Take in stunning vistas and historical sites, enjoy private walking tours or hop-on hop-off buses in Istanbul, and explore islands via ferry or flight. Don't miss out on full-day itineraries in Santorini, Athens, Cappadocia, and Izmir or Pamukkale's wellness-seeking tourists.
If you're ready to start planning your trip to Greece and Turkey, be sure to do your research beforehand. Look for reputable travel agencies that offer tour packages that fit your budget and preferences. Consider booking accommodations ahead of time to ensure availability during peak seasons.
1. What is the best time of year to visit Greece and Turkey?
The best time of year to visit Greece and Turkey is during the spring (April-June) or fall (September-November) when temperatures are milder, crowds are smaller, and prices are lower.
2. Is it safe to travel to Greece and Turkey?
Yes, both countries are generally safe for travelers. However, it's always important to take precautions such as avoiding certain areas at night or carrying valuables with you.
3. Do I need a visa for traveling to Greece or Turkey?
It depends on your nationality. Some countries may require a visa while others don't. Be sure to check the visa requirements before booking your trip.
4. Can I use my credit card in Greece and Turkey?
Yes, credit cards are widely accepted in most tourist areas of both countries.
5. What should I pack for my trip?
Pack comfortable clothing suitable for warm weather as well as some layers for cooler evenings or air-conditioned buildings. Don't forget sunscreen, sunglasses, a hat, and comfortable walking shoes.